What is telemedicine? Originally I understood telemedicine when it was providing care to patients in remote areas such as in far villages in Alaska. In these locations Health professionals may see a patient in a remote village and phone their observations to a physician, many miles away, for direction and consultation.
However if I am understanding correctly what I am now reading suggests that patients can phone their physician or a Clinic directly and have a “telemedicine” talk – the patient asking a question or relating symptoms and the Physician or Advanced Practitioner will answer the patient. I understand this includes diagnosis, and recommended treatment and prescriptions, and the patient never sees anyone “face-to-face” Am I correct?
Proponents for Telemedicine state:
Quicker, more convenient care than if they had to travel to a city.
Doctors are examining options to update their practices to survive in a new environment.
The amount of money physicians can earn by providing care (not substantially different from the questions and requests most doctors already handle by phone for nothing) may be substantial.
(Government should remove barriers) Researchers concluded that key features of successful telemetrically consulting included rapid access to a primary care doctor by phone, cross-coverage via phone to handle acute illness, portable EMRs for patients and doctors and a standardized data structure.
implementing telemedicine in hospitals will improve access, reduce costs and boost quality of care.
It was stated that Telemedicine’s real threat to physician practices is better service. It was suggested that Physicians should Step up their games in terms of convenience, cost transparency and service.
It is said that Physicians can use widely available web meeting and online video tools to connect with patients in remote areas. A patient and a doctor who have an I-phone 4 or an iPad2 can use their Face Time video chat feature.
(Telemedicine does not have to be expensive) Physicians can use widely available web meeting and online video tools to connect with patients in remote areas.
Problems given to implementing Telemedicine are:
Payers aren’t reimbursing for most services delivered this way
Also pointed out was the fact that connecting medical devices for remote monitoring is not simple or inexpensive.
Also mentioned is the problem that patients lose too much in-person contact with their doctors.
Some suggest getting medical advice over a computer or telephone is appropriate only when patients already know their doctors. “Even for a minor illness, some think patients will be shortchanged
Not all health experts want to see virtual care substantially displace in-person medicine. Some worry that patient health will suffer the loss of human touch from their doctors, citing research that indicates patients who are touched are more cooperative, feel safer and suffer less cardiovascular stress and some mention health gains in premature babies and patients with Alzheimer disease.
In spite of concerns, proponents say employers, health plans and patients are being powerfully drawn to the benefits of timely, low-cost care for minor ailments.
In 2011, Wal-Mart said it wanted: to create a national primary care service and a new focus on app development for customers.
Does anyone have any concerns regarding the accuracy of diagnoses done over the telephone?
Does anyone have any concerns over treatment plans done over the telephone?
I like modern, but do not completely understand this. What am I missing?
* Fierce Health IT and Fierce Practice Management – 3/10/08; 7/08; 7/09; 11/11; 8/11; 9/11; 12/11; 1/12; 2/12; 2/12; 4/12; 5/12; 4/14;